I Have Heard that Otoplasty is Very Painful to Recover From, is this True?

I have heard stories from friends who have had this procedure and read online that an otoplasty is one of the most painful cosmetic procedures, particularly after surgery. I am just wondering whether or not this is true. I find it difficult to believe as i know that many children below the age of 10 get this procedure done.

Doctor Answers (19)

Pain after Ear Pin back surgery - I heard it is very painful

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Pain responses vary from patient to patient.
Typically the Surgeon will use a lot of Local Anaesthetic before and after the operation that will numb the area.
Long acting local anaesthetics are preferred and they can last for a good 12 hours post op. This helps with the pain.
I give all my patients a long acting Intra venous analgesia at the time of the Surgery that acts for 18 hours.
You will have tablets to take after the Surgery and they include simple pain killers and some narcotics and anti inflammatory tablets. So we leave no stone unturned when it comes to your pain.


Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

PostOperative Healing Following Otoplasty: Pain Varies From Patient to Patient

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Post-operative pain varies from patient to patient with any surgical procedure.  Although there’s pain associated with otoplasty, most patients wouldn’t consider it severe.  The majority of patients take narcotic pain relievers for 24 to 48 hours.  At this point, the majority switch to Tylenol.  In most cases, patients have resumed their normal routine in about 7 to 10 days and are effectively pain free.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Otoplasty Recovery: What You Should Know

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Thank you for your question. The actual Otoplasty procedure is not very painful at all. We perform them in my practice in my office using local anesthesia. The procedure takes about an hour.

That being said, there usually is a moderate amount of discomfort (pain) the first one or two nights of recovery. Most patients tolerate this well using prescription pain medications. I tell my patients to expect some discoloration and swelling after otoplasty. I also recommend they take a couple of days off work as they'll need to wear a turban-like dressing to protect the ears for the next 2 to 3 days. Sutures are removed in 5 to 7 days. You'll need to wear an exercise headband over your ears when you sleep for the next month. In about 3 to 4 weeks, you can expect to be 75% recovered, and full recovery is usually reached in 2 to 3 months.

I think it would be helpful for you to hear about an experience from an actual otoplasty patient. Watch the above testimonial from my YouTube Channel for more insight and be sure to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in otoplasty surgery.

David Mabrie, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Otoplasty Pain and Recovery

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Depending on your specific healing process, pain levels range but can be managed well with the right care. Make sure that you choose a board certified facial plastic surgeon who has expertise in performing otoplasties. After the procedure, you should have dressings applied to aid in healing and comfort. Sleeping on your back is also best as sleeping on your sides can affect your healing. Wearing a headband that your surgeon provides may also be an option to hold the ears in the desired position for a few weeks after the procedure. Pain medications and/or anesthetics will help with the pain immediately after your surgery and throughout the healing process.

Carlo Honrado, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Otoplasty surgery and pain

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Since everyone has a different threshold of pain, the level of discomfort will vary from patient to patient.  It is true that many children undergo Otoplasty surgery (some as young as 5 years old) and tolerate it well.  During surgery, general anesthesia is administered for young children and local anesthesia for young kids and adults.  Rest assured that your ears will be completely numb so you won’t feel any pain.  After surgery, I often prescribe a mild to moderate pain reliever and an antibiotic to reduce the chance of infection.  With any surgery, it is always important to outweigh the potential risks versus the benefits.  I hope this helps!  

Paul L. Leong, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Otoplasty Pain and the Recovery Process

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Otoplasty can be a painful procedure just like any other procedure in the head and neck area. There are ways to make this better for patients afterward. The type of anesthesia that is done can sometimes help. Longer acting local anesthetics injected after wards can allow your oral pain medication to build up in your system and keep your pain under control and avoid the peaks and valleys with pain medications.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Pain after Otoplasty

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Otoplasty recovery can be painful, but varies from patient to patient. The ears usually appear swollen or bruised right after the procedure, which will subside after some time. A few tips that I tell my patients; try not to sleep on your side during recovery, do not wash the hair with shampoo for up to one week after the surgery, keep head elevated to minimize swelling and take any prescribed pain medication as directed to alleviate any discomfort. Adults can generally return to work after several days and children can typically return to school after one week.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Otoplasty recovery is uncomfortable

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Otoplasty is an uncomfortable operation to recover from.  The ears are swollen after the procedure, they do throb for the first 2 weeks, and it is somewhat difficult to be comfortable while sleeping at night when both ears have been done.  We prescribe a medium strength pain reliever such as Vicodin, which to help with the short-term discomfort.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Otoplasty pain?

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Dear patient,
Otoplasty is commonly done on children. The ideal age is 5 years old.
Following an otoplasty surgery, the pain is usually mild to moderate and can easily be controlled with pain medication.

Teanoosh Zadeh, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Otoplasty

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Otoplasty is a procedure that repostions and improves ear contour.  This procedure can be performed under local anesthesia.  The recovery it typically easy with some soreness.  It usually is not associated with significant pain. 

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.